Many future actors aspiring to careers in the world of theatre must overcome significant symbolic and economic obstacles, first and foremost by securing a place in recognised drama schools. Since 2015, the Prépa’Théâtre 93 programme has enabled young people aged 18 to 25 to prepare for the entrance exams of leading theatre schools in France and the French-speaking world. Based in Seine-Saint-Denis, the competitive but entirely free programme affirms its commitment to social diversity by welcoming eight students through a means-tested “Equal Opportunities” stream, alongside seven others from three partner drama schools across the region.
Consisting of 1,000 hours of training in total, the preparatory class takes place over two years, whilst offering participating students the chance to take the entrance exams from the end of their first year. It brings together intensive stage training with an immersion in the fundamental aspects of the dramatic arts and an introduction to theatrical culture in partnership with Université Paris 8. The programme also maintains a strong link with contemporary dramatic production: hosted by MC93 – Maison de la Culture de Seine-Saint-Denis, a performing arts centre in Bobigny – it allows students to learn in a professional artistic environment and to engage in regular exchanges with the centre’s team as well as with visiting companies. Overseen by artists and educators, Prépa’Théâtre 93 encourages collective projects whilst ensuring that the individuality of each student can flourish.
Since 2016, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has accompanied this training programme as part of its long-term partnership with MC93. The Foundation’s Artists in the Community programme seeks to bolster social diversity, combat inequality in the arts and encourage artists’ engagement with the community. Through Prépa’Théâtre, which has been officially recognised as an artistic training initiative, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès works together with a new generation of artists whose backgrounds and journeys promise to diversify and enrich the French performing arts scene. One in three students from previous years’ intakes have earned places in leading theatre schools.